Op-ed from Minister Ernie Hardeman, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Over the last few weeks, Ontarians have become used to hearing terms like “unprecedented” to describe the times we’re living in.
The COVID-19 outbreak has changed our daily routines and required each and every one of us to respond to challenges and adapt in ways we never imagined. With the health and well-being of Ontarians as our government’s top priority, we have declared a state of emergency and introduced measures aimed at stopping the spread, including mandatory closure of non-essential businesses and investing $17 billion into Ontario’s Action Plan: Responding to COVID-19. This includes making $10 billion available in support for people and businesses through tax and other deferrals to improve their cash flow. It also provides $3.3 billion in support for frontline health care workers, hospital capacity to increase assessments and treatments, and more personal protective equipment and medical supplies.
Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. But they also create extraordinary heroes. And across our province, I want to acknowledge those who are making sure our grocery store shelves are full and food is on our tables, especially in the midst of a crisis. You are truly an inspiration to us all.
Our farmers and people in the food processing industry have continued to show up to work day in and day out to provide for their fellow citizens. To grow, produce and process the incredible variety of foods we purchase and consume every day.
I am grateful for all those people working in Ontario’s agriculture and agri-food sector for keeping our food supply chains operating. I am grateful for the plant employees that continue to produce the milk, meat, bread, canned goods and other foods that Ontario families depend on. I am grateful for the truck drivers who are working around the clock moving goods from food plants to stores across Ontario. And I am grateful that across the province, farmers and food processors are embracing the Ontario Spirit as we come together, as a province, to support one another through this difficult time.
Over the last few weeks, we have all been reminded of the need to support Ontario agriculture and our food supply chain. At a time like this, we all truly appreciate how vital these sectors are to our province. Not just for their economic contributions, but for the sometimes-overlooked role they play in providing, safe, healthy and nutritious food all year round. Ontarians are now more aware of this fact.
Again, I extend my sincere appreciation to our province’s entire food sector for the critical work they do to keep us nourished during this crisis. While many of us are at home practicing physical distancing, they continue to go to work every day to produce some of the safest, highest quality foods in the world and I could not be more proud of their extraordinary effort and dedication. I encourage everyone to take any opportunity to say thank you.
From farmers growing our food to doctors and nurses helping the sick, to cleaning staff keeping everything sanitized, we all have a role during this pandemic and together, we’re demonstrating the Ontario Spirit and resolve that will see us through these dark days.Source : OMAFRA